Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Ultimate Workout Playlist (60 Songs)

I'm a huge proponent of using music in your workouts to help get you going.  Even on my most low energy, depressed days, when I'm literally dragging myself to the gym or park with a head full of self-talk like, "Just WALK for 15 minutes- you don't have to run or lift weights." If, when I get there, I put my ipod on, after a few minutes, I can't help but start running or working out harder.  Like music magic.

Lyrics, tempo, beat, and rhythm get me in the mood to work out.  I like booty-shakin' music, R&B, Christian Pop, and a little rock-n-roll.  Below are the top 60 songs currently on my "Work Out" Playlist.

To get me moving or start the workout I love to hear "Good Morning" by Mandisa & Toby Mac.

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When it's time to lift heavy weights on squats, "Sober" by Pink is great because it's a little slower (which is how I like to do squats, and I feel like it makes me dig deep).

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In the groove and feeling good?

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If you're working out some emotional stuff, going through a heartbreak, or life is just generally shitty, here are a few songs to give you some encouragement.

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"Overcomer" by Mandisa (I added the lyrics to the whole song because it's so perfect.)

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Ready to cool down and stretch?  "You & I" by Lada GaGa starts with a great slower tempo.

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Let's share.  What are your favorite songs to workout to?  

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Tasty Fruit & Veggie Protein Smoothies

When I did the Jamie Eason 12-week trainer, one thing she recommended was drinking a protein shake within 30 minutes of working out to aid in muscle growth and recovery.  I do this pretty religiously, making my shake as soon as I get home or ordering one at the gym if I'm not coming straight home after my workout.  Protein is essential for muscle development and recovery, but you can get the adequate amount from whole foods, like meat, fish, beans, egg whites, nuts, and milk too.

I'm usually a protein powder plus water and a few ice cubes kind of girl, but lately I've been trying more fresh fruit and veggie smoothies (with protein powder).  The other day, I added about 6 ounces of Odwalla Superfood drink to my protein powder and it tasted so good.  Although Odwalla is made with all natural ingredients, the calorie content and sugar is high, so I'd use it sparingly.  Mixed frozen bagged fruit is usually what I use.

Since I don't like a huge shake (it feels so daunting- like a chore to chug down), I make just a regular sized glass or mason jar size.  

I add about a scoop and a half of my protein powder (30 grams of protein) as opposed to the recommended 3 scoops (60 grams) because I don't think I can process that much protein at once, nor do I need it.  I'm currently using Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60 and I like it because it has amino acids (great for muscle growth and energy).  I have the chocolate powder too and just blend it with water and a few ice cubes and it's pretty good.

The best results I've seen working out were when I was adding BCAA (branched chain amino acids- Amino Fuel) to my diet.  The BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans, accounting for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins and 40% of the preformed amino acids.  It's easy to do- I add 3 tablespoons of the liquid right into my water bottle when I work out.  It tastes like orange juice, so it's like drinking citrus water.  But, if I don't put the Amino Fuel into my water, I just add it to my shake.  

Chia Seeds are another ingredient in my diet (they are full of omega-3 and fiber) and go in my protein pancakes or oatmeal, but I'll also add a teaspoon to my shake.  I've gotten hooked on mango lately and this Bolthouse Farms mango drink is good (but again, sugary- sweetened with fruit- so use sparingly).  

I'll also add about two big hand-fulls of spinach (the pre-washed bagged kind) to the mix.  I feel good knowing I'm getting my greens in. 

I tried adding two small carrots to a smoothie and have to admit, I didn't love it.  It wasn't terrible, but I don't think I'll do that again.  

I think the point is to just experiment to see what you like, what combinations taste best to you and what other nutritious things you can add to your shake.  After looking at the nutrition on the prepared drinks, I'll probably just stick to my bagged frozen fruit.  

Are you a smoothie person? 

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Friday, 23 August 2013

Time to Get Movin' Again // Cardio & Bike Riding

Whenever I've let exercise slip to the back burner, when I start back up, I like to add in several sessions of hard cardio to get my heart pumping again.  This week, I've been doing 50 minutes at a time in the gym: 20 minutes on the treadmill at level 4 (a brisk walk), then 30 minutes on the stair climber at level 60-70.  I make sure to bring my ipod or a magazine to keep me company for that amount of time.  I also cover the clock on the machine so I'm not aware of how slowly the time passes and just check periodically.  It feels so great when you're done and in the following days as you can feel your body responding, getting lighter and stronger.

Last week, my 3 year-old son got a bigger bike with training wheels, which prompted me to bust out my bike. I haven't ridden in years!  But as soon as I got back on, I remembered how much I like it.  Now, I want to ride my bike everyday.

Not to mention, it's great exercise and always a good idea to get out of your exercise rut and try something new.  I put my gears on a hard setting that makes me work for each pedal and then ride around the neighborhood.  I'm a little scared to try the bike trails in our park for fear of getting run over by the more experienced, fast riders.  Bike riding can be challenging, but it's mostly fun and a great way to get exercise outside of the gym! 

Have a great weekend!  Take care of YOU!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Jamie Eason Meatloaf Muffins

When I'm looking for something healthy and high in protein that I can eat over and over to help lean out, (fitness model) Jamie Eason's meatloaf muffins fit the bill.  I made them for dinner, then had them for the next several lunches and dinners until they were gone.  A serving size is 1 or 2 for me, depending on how hungry I am and what I'm having with it. This recipe makes 12.


    *Quaker Oats - Quick 1 Minute - Dry, 1 cup 
    egg white, fresh, 3 large (I used All Whites)
    Onions, raw, 1 cup, chopped 
    Celery, raw, 1 cup, diced (I didn't have any celery, but used a red bell pepper instead)
    *Jenni-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast, 2.5 lbs (I mixed that and Laura's lean beef)
    *Ground cumin, 0.5 tsp 
    *Herb - Thyme, Dried Ground (1 tsp), 1 gram 
    *Mustard Yellow, Emirel's Mellow Yellow (1tsp/5g), 2 tsp 
    *Black pepper (spice) 2 tsp 
    *Chipotle pepper, ground, 2 tsp (I omitted this and used salt-free seasoning)
    Salt, 1 tsp 
    Garlic powder, 2 tbsp (remove) (I used 3 fresh cloves)
    - I also added a couple dashes of Worcestershire Sauce

I chopped the onion, red pepper and garlic.

And then combined all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Using my hands, I portioned the mixture into 12 large meatballs. 

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or so.  I reheat them in the microwave for about a minute. 

For this dinner I steamed up some broccoli and asparagus as a side veggie.  I like a little ketchup on the side too.  I like how the red pepper looks in the meatballs, I'll probably add green or yellow next time also.

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Tuesday, 20 August 2013


As you know, life is full of ebbs and flows.  Although I always exercise at least semi-regularly, there are times when I'm super dedicated and work out intensely and there are times when other things demand my attention and there just aren't enough hours or energy in the day.  At those times, I may let exercise slip, but I pay for it and don't feel as good.

I've had a lot going on with work, relationships, my dad's illness, my son starting pre-school, my blog, and on and on.  We all have struggles so I know you can relate.  When things are extra stressful in my life, exercise helps me cope.  And I've been doing a lot of that lately.  Getting really good and sweaty and fighting wars in my mind.  Cursing cancer and feeling blessed for the experience of love.  I'm also trying to add in periods of rest.  Stillness.  Time to just





Time to listen to my heart.  Time to share my thankfulness and blessings with God.  And time to listen for HIS guidance.  I don't know why it's so hard to just take these moments for myself, but I know they are necessary.  I find that right after dropping my son off at school, just sitting alone in my car for a few quiet moments can help ground me and prepare me for the day.  But it's not enough.  There needs to be more time to turn off the constant slew of thoughts, fear, worry, anxiousness, sadness.

I set out some goals for myself for 2013 and they have been really challenged.  I'm "renewing my vows" :) to myself right now.  I feel like if I don't examine my life and what's important and how I want to live, then I will just be on the wheel, going nowhere.  In the stillness, answers come.  Through exercise and getting stronger answers come.

I'm wishing moments of peace and stillness for you too.  Have a beautiful day. 

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